Hanifaru Bay is a sanctuary for people who love snorkeling with manta rays and whale sharks. This UNESCO biosphere reserve in the Maldives is legally designated as a Marine Protected Area. There are strict regulations are in place to protect and preserve this amazing wonder.
The reef at Hanifaru Bay is like a funnel that is about 1300 meters, the inner narrow part of the funnel is about 600 meters and that is where whale sharks and mantas are found more common. The whale shark season is from May to December. In this period, planktons gets trapped in the funnel-like reef and concentration of planktons attracts whale sharks and schools of manta rays. At any time there could be over a hundred mantas and several whale sharks feeding off the coral reef. This is the world’s largest feeding station known to exist.
At Hanifaru Bay you can do snorkeling, diving is not permitted any more. During your snorkeling you must keep proper distance from whale sharks and manta rays, a radius of 3 meters from head section of whale shark and 4 meters at its tail is minimum distance you must maintain. You should not approach the creature from front or cross its path, stay at sides and swim with whale sharks. It is allowed to take pictures but without flash, you cannot use scooter or motorized devices to tow yourself. Touching, stroking or even getting that close is prohibited and there are trained rangers monitoring your moves.
Prior to implementing these regulations the place was overcrowded with boats and tourists. At some point whale sharks and manta population in Hanifaru Bay went to a drastic drop. The creatures might have been disturbed by human intervention. Hence, the regulations are important to keep this amazing wonder preserved.
Meeting at the Airport
*Long evening crossing to Angafaru in Baa Atoll
Dive 1: Angafaru (Check Dive)
Dive 2: Nelivaru Thila
Dive 3: Dhigali Thila
Anchorage: Near Kihaadhoo (Baa Atoll)
Dive 1: Dhonfan thila
Dive 2: Dhigu Thila
Snorkel at Hanifau bay
Anchorage: Near Veyofushi & Barbecue at Veyofushi island (Baa Atoll)
Dive 1: Millaidhoo Caves
*Navigate to Raa Atoll
Dive 2: Beryian Kuda Thila
Dive 3: Kinolhas House Reef (Night dive)
Anchorage: Near Kinolhas (Raa Atoll)
Dive 1: Kottefaru Thila
Dive 2: The Labirynth
Dive 3: Kuroshi Giri Canyon
Anchorage: Near Kuroshi Giri (Raa Atoll)
Dive 1: Rainbow Caves
Dive 2: Maafaru Caves
Dive 3: Fenfushi Giri
*Long evening crossing to Rasfari in North Male’ Atoll
Dive 1: Boduhithi Thila
Dive 2: Paradise Corner (Manta Pont)
Anchorage: Kurumba (North Male’ Atoll)
Check Out in the Morning
Note: these routes are weather permitting and subjected to changes due to weather or group request.
PLEASE NOTE: From January 2012 scuba diving is not permitted in Hanifaru Bay, however you will be able to snorkel in this area for a $20 fee (per person for approx 45mins).